Convair, who brought us the B-36, and by purchase of Consolidated the B-24 and Catalina, designed the R3Y based on a 1945 Navy requirement for an assault carrier that utilized a laminar flow wing and turbo prop engines. 13 aircraft were built with the first flight in 1954, the aircraft entered service in 1956, but was withdrawn in 1958 due to issues with its Allison turbo prop engines that led to the loss of four aircraft.

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The Tradewind could haul 108 soldiers or 45k pounds of supplies, vehicles or fuel. The plane does still hold the record for transcontinental seaplane flights.